letters from dickinson to abiah root

Thomas Johnson's Note on Letter 23

MANUSCRIPT: missing.

PUBLICATION: L (1894) 36-39; LL 133-136, in part; L (1931) 32-35, dated (presumably by ED): Mt. Holyoke Female Seminary. May 16, 1848.

Longfellow's Evangeline and Tennyson's The Princess were both reviewed in the Hampshire and Franklin Express, 30 March 1848. The Maiden Aunt is a novel by Marcella Bute Smedley; The Epicurean, a prose romance by Thomas Moore; and The Twins and The Heart are two novels (bound together) by Martin Tupper.

[The paragraph that follows was published by itself in L (1931) 28, among the letters to Abiah Root. It is probably part of this letter, omitted at the point indicated by dots in the fourth page.]

I tremble when I think how soon the weeks and days of this term will all have been spent, and my fate will be sealed, perhaps. I have neglected the one thing needful when all were obtaining it, and I may never, never again pass through such a season as was granted us last winter. Abiah, you may be surprised to hear me speak as I do, knowing that I express no interest in the all-important subject, but I am not happy, and I regret that last term, when that golden opportunity was mine, that I did not give up and become a Christian. It is not now too late, so my friends tell me, so my offended conscience whispers, but it is hard for me to give up the world. I had quite a long talk with Abby while at home and I doubt not she will soon cast her burden on Christ. She is sober, and keenly sensitive on the subject, and she says she only desires to be good. How I wish I could say that with sincerity, but I fear I never can. But I will no longer impose my own feelings even upon my friend. Keep them sacred, for I never lisped them to any save yourself and Abby.

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Commentary copyright 1998 by Martha Nell Smith, all rights reserved
Maintained by Lara Vetter <lvetter@uncc.edu>
Last updated on February 25, 2008